A workplace injury can throw all of your plans into a tailspin. The sudden loss of income, insecurity regarding job stability, and inability to meet your obligations at home can create significant mental stress. As you may know, workers’ compensation is usually the first place an injured worker goes to obtain reimbursement for their losses, but there are also circumstances in which an outside party might be at fault for a workplace injury.
If you have been injured on the job, protect your rights. Contact Weaver Tidmore at 205-980-6065 to explore your options.
Workers’ Compensation is Your Primary Source of Relief
The majority of the time, workers’ compensation is your primary (and sometimes only) option for financial relief after a workplace injury. This is the main goal of the workers’ compensation system; it protects workplaces and employers from being financially ruined by personal injury claims. It also protects an employee’s right to compensation by not requiring them to prove that their injury was caused by their employer.
However, part of the workers’ compensation system is that you cannot sue your employer. In extenuating circumstances, you may be able to seek compensation from your coworker or from other parties.
Limited Circumstances When You Can Sue a Coworker
When a coworker intentionally acts in a malicious or negligent manner, you may be able to file a personal injury suit against the coworker. However, you must be able to prove that they engaged in willful conduct that causes injury. This means demonstrating that the coworker acted with the knowledge that their actions would cause injuries, or that they intentionally chose to hurt you.
This can be difficult to prove; a coworker intent on hurting you is unlikely to admit that they wanted to harm you. If you choose to go this route, you must work with an experienced personal injury attorney who knows how to handle these types of cases.
You can also bring a claim against a coworker if they intentionally remove a safety guard or device from a machine. For this type of claim to be successful, the coworker must have known that injury or death was likely to occur as a result of the removal. You must also be able to show that the device’s main purpose was safety and that the device came from the manufacturer.
When a Third Party is Involved
In some accidents, a party entirely separate from your workplace is responsible for your accident. In these situations, you can bring a personal injury suit against the liable party for your injuries and losses.
For example, if you are a delivery driver and someone rear ends you at a stoplight, they are liable for the accident—not your employer. While workers’ compensation may still pay out benefits, they will also expect to be reimbursed from a successful personal injury claim. In this case, you would want to bring a claim against the driver to seek compensation.
You would also have a third-party claim if there was a contractor at your workplace who caused your injuries. This is relatively common on construction sites, where many non-employee contractors are brought in. If a non-employee caused your injuries, you would file a claim against them.
You could also file a third-party claim if your work injury occurred because of a defective product. Consider, for example, a piece of construction equipment that had inherent flaws in its design. Those flaws then caused the machine to malfunction in such a way that you were injured. You would bring a claim against the company that designed the machine or the company that manufactured the machine.
Explore Your Workers’ Compensation Options with Weaver Tidmore
Knowing your options after a workplace accident can be confusing. That is why it is recommended that you work with an attorney who understands personal injury and workers’ compensation. At Weaver Tidmore, we have handled a wide range of personal injury cases over the years, and we have the experience, knowledge, resources, and commitment to successfully pursue claims like these. Ready to learn more about your options? Give us a call at 205-980-6065 or send us a message through our online contact for